Summary: Getting up early is a habit – and just like with any other habit, it takes time to embed in your life. Remember that and use some strategies to help yourself.
Over the last weeks, I’ve been getting up at 5:30 AM, even though I could’ve easily got up almost an hour later and still made it to work on time. Thanks to waking up earlier, though, I know have time to do a quick workout in the morning, have a cold shower, have a great breakfast, catch up on the news and generally not rush at all. If you want to give getting up earlier a go, here are some hopefully useful tips:
1. Be consistent
That means the weekends, too – sorry. Our brains look for patterns all the time, so you need to create a pattern of your own. I’m writing these words at 5:30 AM on a Sunday – because if you decide to lie in on a weekend, you’re sabotaging the work you’ve put into early rising during the weekdays.
I know it sounds barbaric. I know it will hurt to get up on a weekend at the same time you get up for work during weekdays. That will pass, though, if only you stick to the routine and allow your body to get used to it. It will thank you for not confusing it every day with different times that you’re expecting it to be functioning from.
2. CEOs do it? Doesn’t matter. Find a reason why YOU should do it
I can’t count the times I’ve read that a successful CEO of a company X is an early riser and that this is generally true for most of them. While it is interesting, it doesn’t apply to my current situation, because hey, I’m not a CEO (yet). Instead, what I’ve found useful is determining why getting up early is beneficial for ME and what can I do with the extra time in the morning. And I suggest doing exactly that – knowing WHY you‘re getting up early! Without that, it will be tempting to just go ‘yeah, don’t really have anything to do, I’ll just stay in bed for a few more minutes…’. Well, how about watching an episode of a great TV series while doing some exercise? Or working on your side-project? Or finally finding the time to have that breakfast that you’ve been skipping for lack of time? Whatever you choose, make it count FOR YOURSELF. Otherwise it just won’t work.
3. Every time you hit ‘snooze’, your rival gets $5
I saw this image a while ago and it made me laugh:
To make it really work, though, it should be a lot more than $0.99 and that money should go to a cause / a person that you can’t stand. Nothing better than a bit of a negative motivation, eh?
But seriously, don’t snooze. IT IS AN ILLUSION. Those extra 6 minutes will shortly turn into 20, which will morph into you having to rush because you slept it again. And these few additional minutes give you NOTHING – you’re basically lying to yourself. When you wake up, get up IMMEDIATELY, before your brain starts to make up excuses why you shouldn’t. It’s more difficult for it to do that while you’re in a vertical position!
4. Less caffeine, more exercise, go to bed earlier
Finally, some trivial points – apologies for how obvious they are, but repeating them shouldn’t do any harm:
- If you’re going to bed late, it will be more difficult for you to get up early in the morning (duuuuh)
- There’s no point in waking up early and then not having energy throughout the day (2 x duuuh). Look at your current routine – how much coffee / Red Bull / any other caffeinated drink do you ingest everyday? If coffee is the only thing that gets you through the day, I would suggest working on ditching that habit. You have most likely accustomed your body to that stimulant and you need to regain control over your energy levels. Start e.g. by taking medium sized coffees instead of large, then reduce the number of cups per day and get that power over your energy back
- You come home late and think “I’m too tired to go for a run”? Immediately go for a run. Physical activity increases your energy levels over time, but you need to start being physically active first (3 x duuuuuh). If you give in to the “I’m too tired” excuse, you’ll fall into a vicious circle. Again, surprise your brain by putting on your running shoes before that excuse even materialises – and when it finally does, you’ll be already trotting along, knowing that you’re making a medium-term investment into the energy bank
Hope you’ll find these tips useful – let me know how you get on.